Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 29.03. – Sunday, 01.06.2003

Roni Horn – "If on a Winter’s Night … Roni Horn …"

The work of the world-famous American concept artist Roni Horn (born in 1955) is focused on the material appearance of the physical world. Since the beginning of the 1990s, she has concentrated on reflecting, primarily through the medium of photography, on the multifarious relationships between identity and place. Iceland, which she has visited for one to three months a year since the 1970s, is to her a rare and unspoiled refuge, a central place where identity becomes comprehensible. Her photographic work is usually composed of series of pictures with everyday themes—water, clouds, faces—apparently banal observations that constitute staged, conceptual sequences that can be read as metaphors of the interrelationships inherent in life and reality.

Fotomuseum Winterthur presents five new groups of work from the past five years. Each series occupies a different room: One of the most extensive series in the exhibition is entitled Some Thames (2000), a group of eighty photographs of the River Thames. Roni Horn is not concerned with the geography and legend of the historic river but its stillness, sparkle and transparency, and its depth, power and violence. The thirty-two part series Clowd and Cloun (Blue) (2001) consists of subtle and sometimes imperceptible variations on just two subjects. The face of a clown appears and disappears behind a frosted pane of glass; we see diffuse and fleeting phenomena forming and dissolving, a flow of signs that enter into dialogue with the passing cloud formations. Her, Her, Her, and Her (2001–2003) comprises of two mutually allusive visual tableaux with labyrinthine views of and into changing rooms in a sports centre in Iceland. The cool aesthetics of the building material, the precisely calibrated architecture and the anonymous signs on the changing cabins contrast sharply with the individuality and intimacy of the fragmentary parts of the body photographed in this transitory place. In Pi (1994–1997), Roni Horn celebrates an absolute simultaneity and equality of motifs in a wide range of different genres such as landscape, interior and portrait photographs and media images. Associative and down-to-earth at one and the same time, she links people’s conditions and experiences with their relationships to themselves and to their media-orientated and social environment in an open frieze suggestive of the life cycle. This is Me, This is You (1997–2000) consists of forty-nine pairs of photographs that Roni Horn took of her niece Georgia Loy over a period of two years. She selected two photographs, differing only minimally from one another, in each case. The girl’s open, cheerful expression gives us to understand that she is thoroughly conscious of her role as the theme of the photographs. The double photographs, which the viewer cannot see simultaneously, refer to the aspects of self-formativeness and fleetingness as two parts of identity.

The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel.

Main sponsor: UBS AG